The MFN Advisory Board

The MFN Advisory Board consists of three At-Large Board members and representatives from each Moving Forward Network region. At-Large Advisory Board members are individuals from involved organizations who contribute experience and expertise to the leadership of the Network. Regional representatives are regional leaders who serve as the point person for their region, help facilitate activities and programs at the regional level and build capacity and lend their expertise and perspectives to MFN organizational decision-making.

Regional Representatives

Kim Gaddy

New York/New Jersey

southwardea@gmail.com
(973) 420-7925 (cell)

Kim represents the New York/New Jersey region of the Moving Forward Network. Kim is the National Environmental Justice Director for Clean Water Action, Port Commissioner for the City of Newark, Vice-Chair for NJDEP and Environmental Justice Advisory Council and Coordinator for GI Reformers for Newark DIG (Doing Infrastructure Green).

Melissa Miles

New York/New Jersey

melissa@njeja.org

Melissa Miles is the Executive Director of the New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance, The only statewide Environmental Justice organization dedicated to protecting the states’ low-income and communities of color from the devastating impacts of legacy pollution.

Learn More About Melissa

Melissa began her career while living in an Environmental Justice Community in Newark, a place called a “sacrifice zone” and a “waste-shed” by advocates. It was here that she cut her teeth as a community activist, organizer and advocate by conducting truck counts, neighborhood mapping, air monitoring and giving written and public comments on permits and projects.

More recently, she was a part of the coalition recognized by Governor Murphy for her contribution to the passage of S232 into the nation’s first Cumulative Impacts law. She holds her M.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the New School University and was an out-of-school time educator for over twenty years before making the transition into environmental work.

Rachel Jefferson

Missouri/Kansas

rjefferson@northeastkck.org
(913) 371-9298 ext. 8

Rachel represents the Kansas City region of the Moving Forward Network. Rachel is the Executive Director of Groundwork Northeast Revitalization Group (Groundwork NRG).

Learn More About Rachel

Rachel is a recipient of the 2011 Neighborhood Leadership Award, and is an alumna of Leadership 2000, a leadership development program funded by the Kansas Leadership Center. Rachel is also a graduate of the Healthy Communities Leadership Academy, an initiative created by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

Rachel has served on many boards including the National Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Review Committee and the Regional Prevention Center’s Connect the Dots Community Coalition.

Beto Lugo Martinez

Missouri/Kansas

betomtz.lugo@gmail.com

Beto represents the SciCAN Science and Community Action Network, he is also the executive director of CleanAirNow in Kansas City and a long time member of the Moving Forward Network.

Learn More About Beto

Beto serves to raise community voices in the fight against environmental racism and to overcome systemic exclusion of frontline communities from the decision making process. His lived experience, growing up fenceline to a petrochemical facility turned superfund site, that formulated DDT, agrochemicals and other pesticides, and left behind legacy contamination, continues to drive his work at the intersection of environmental justice and public health.

Beto is currently involved in an environmental health study centered in his childhood neighborhood in Southern California. He is also a founding member of the California Environmental Justice Coalition, and member of national CJ & EJ networks including the EJ Leadership Forum. Beto’s contributions to the movement include organizing, policy and community led research. He is responsible for deploying the largest community based air monitoring network in the country, which created a blueprint for California’s AB617 landmark legislation, creating a community air protection program, with more localized air monitoring and targeted reductions in emissions based on the data.

Beto has co-authored multiple academic publications on community based participatory research, community engagement and air pollution. In August 2021 Beto was invited to serve on the Federal Clean Air Act Advisory Committee, to represent a grassroots frontline perspective.

Dr. Mildred McClain

Southeast

cfej.harambee@gmail.com
(912) 604-8415

Mildred represents the Southeast Regional Network that includes Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. Mildred is executive director of Harambee House Inc./Citizens for Environmental Justice in Savannah, Georgia. Dr. McClain has been a human rights activist and teacher for over 40 years. She serves on EPA’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council.

Ramsey Sprague

Southeast

infomejac@gmail.com
(251) 308–5872

Ramsey represents the Southeast Regional Network that includes Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. Ramsey is the President of the Mobile Environmental Justice Action Coalition

Taylor Thomas

Southern California

tbthomas@eycej.org
(323) 263–2113

Taylor represents the Southern California region of the Moving Forward Network. She has supported organizing for quality and affordable education, and worked with folks experiencing homelessness. Taylor is the Co-Director for East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice and lives in Long Beach. Taylor aims to combine art, sustainability, compassion and social justice into a movement of love.

mark! Lopez

Southern California

mlopez@eycej.org
(323) 263–2113

mark! Lopez comes from a family with a long history of activism. He was raised in the Madres del Este de Los Angeles Santa Isabel (Mothers of East LA Santa Isabel – MELASI), an organization co-founded by his grandparents, Juana Beatriz Gutierrez and Ricardo Gutierrez. This set his trajectory as a community activist.

Learn More About mark!

mark! engaged in a wide array of student activism at UC Santa Cruz where he earned his B.A. in Environmental Studies, and taught university courses at UC Santa Cruz, Cal State Northridge, and UCLA Extension. mark! earned his M.A. from the Chican@ Studies Department at Cal State Northridge, where he completed his Masters thesis titled “The Fire: Decolonizing “Environmental Justice.”

mark! joined East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice as a member three years before joining the staff. After serving as Lead Organizer for East Yard Communities and Co-Director with EYCEJ Co-Founder Angelo Logan, mark! served as the Executive Director for over 6 years. He is now serving as Eastside Community Organizer & Special Projects Coordinator. He organizes in the area where he was born, raised and continues to live. mark! is the 2017 North American Recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize.

Juan Parras

Houston & The Texas Gulf Coast

parras.juan@gmail.com
(281) 513-7799 (cell)

Juan represents the Houston/Gulf region of the Moving Forward Network. Juan has been organizing community voices for years, beginning as a social worker with the Harris County Welfare Office and later with City of Houston Section 8 Housing Department, where he organized workers at both offices. Juan eventually was elevated to be an International Union Representative for AFSCME as an International Union Representative until 1993 where his efforts reestablished MLK day and impeached Governor Evan Mecham of Arizona.

Learn More About Juan

In 1995, Juan and his wife Ana Parras formed Unidos Contra Environmental Racism, which was later renamed T.e.j.a.s (Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services). Juan was an original member of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC), and has served on many other boards and is the recipient of several awards. He is currently an Environmental Justice Ambassador for the Gulf of Mexico Alliance.

With over 40 years of organizing and work from social services to labor to environmental justice, Juan Parras can attest to the empowering force behind marrying issues of intersectionality in environmental work for marginalized communities.

At Large Positions

Legal/Policy

Melissa Lin Perrella

Legal/Policy At-Large Board Member

Melissa is the Chief Equity and Justice Officer for the Natural Resource Defense Council. Melissa also holds a position as a Legal/Policy Expert Board Member for the Moving Forward Network. Melissa is Senior Director of Environmental Justice for the National Resources Defense Council. Her work focuses on improving air quality in environmental justice communities affected by the freight transportation system. She is an expert on the health effect of diesel emissions, technologies for reducing air pollution from ships, trucks and locomotives, enforcing the National Environmental Policy Act and defending landmark state and local clean air programs against federal preemption claims.


Research/Scientific Expertise

Dr. Bruce Strouble, Jr.

Research/Scientific At-Large Advisory Board Member

Bruce is a Research/Scientific At-Large Advisory Board member for the Moving Forward Network. Bruce is the Founder and Director of Citizens for A Sustainable Future, formed to ensure that the next generation of African American children benefit from thriving sustainable communities.

Dr. Qasimah Boston

Research/Scientific At-Large Advisory Board Member

Qasimah is a Research/Scientific At-Large Advisory Board member for the Moving Forward Network and a member of the MFN Southeast Regional Network. She is President of the Board of Directors for the Tallahassee Food Network in Florida, whose vision is an educated world that has access to food that is healthy, green, fair, accessible and affordable. Dr. Boston is a human rights activist and a global public health practitioner.

The National Office of the Moving Forward Network is housed
in the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College in Los Angeles.
Please direct general inquiries to info@movingforwardnetwork.com or (323) 341-4090.